Have you received a text scam message bearing your full name recently? You’re not alone. Social media has been riled up over these creepy messages all week. However, major telecommunication providers Globe and Smart say they are aware of the issue and are working on it.
Both Globe and Smart say they have been spending billions to strengthen their infrastructure against cybercrimes such as text scammers. In a statement, Globe, led by the Ayala Group, said it has already shelled out PHP1.1 billion (US$20 million) to fortify the company’s capabilities to detect and block scam messages from local and international sources.
Globe said it has blocked 784 million scam and spam messages from January to July of this year, deactivated 14,058 scam-linked SIM cards, and blacklisted 8,973 others.
GCash, Globe’s mobile wallet, also blocked 900,000 accounts linked to fraud between January 2021 to March 2022 and recently confirmed it was moving from SMS alerts to in-app messages to avoid scams.
Smart also said they have spent PHP3 billion to beef up their infrastructure against cybercrime and protect their subscribers and blocked over 11 billion attempts to open links associated with spam messages from January to August this year.
Even senators have become concerned as they, too, have received scam texts that include their full names.
In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said that the proliferation of scam messages creates trust issues with telecommunications companies and other firms that people entrust with their data.
Senator JV Ejercito also confirmed in a video that he has been a recipient of these messages, adding he supports the passing of laws that would require the registration of SIM cards.
Last year, the 18th Congress passed the SIM Card Registration Act, which required SIM cards and social media accounts to be registered, but it was vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte — a move criticized by dissidents as “a win for troll farms.”